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DM of the Rings CXXXIV:
Hold Your Horses

By Shamus
on Monday Aug 13, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Aragorn recovers the party horses via rules-lawyering.

Players tend to treat horses like motorcycles: They are vehicles which can go anywhere you can walk, will never wander off, have no fear, feel no pain, and can travel at top speed for as long as you like.

And if you think players abuse the rules surrounding backpacks, just wait until they get their hands on the greatest of all interdimensional containers, saddlebags.

Comments (163)

1 2 3

  1. Namfoodle says:

    meh, Phantom Steed is okay, they do move pretty quick right out of the box. 100 ft at 5th level, which is as good as a hippogriff’s fly speed.

    But by the time you’re high enough level to get the cool stuff (waterwalking, etc.) other methods of transport are available, like teleport and overland flight.

    And they’re pretty easy to “kill”. The AC is better than a real horse (without barding), but they have fewer hit points until you’re really high level.

    • WJS says:

      So what if higher level spells can provide alternatives? It’s not like they make Phantom Steed obsolete. Even at level 20, teleport can only move seven people, while a mage on a Phantom Steed can join any sized group, including one with vehicles. It can also only reliably take you places you’re familiar with.
      As for Overland Flight, it’s a great spell that can last all day, but it’s not fast. At level 9, a Phantom Steed is 4.5 times faster, rising to 6 times faster at level 12. For high-speed movement, Phantom Steed wins. Plus, you can summon a Steed for your friends if you want, Overland Flight is strictly a personal spell.
      I’m obviously not trying to say Phantom Steed is better in every way, but it’s not worse in every way either.

  2. Caius says:

    If Diablo and WOW can have a stash that follows you from town to town, characters can have the saddle bag of holding. That is until 20 Bulletts attack the party, dragging all the horses below the earth. Muwhahahaha cackles the vengeful DM!

  3. Lycoris says:

    Great captures! Third panel especially got a full fledged LOL from me. (Ok, maybe more of a giggle-snort, but don’t tell anyone.)

    World of Warcraft has amazing bags to carry all kinds of stuff in, too. I’ve carried a dozen rotting bear carcasses alongside my food and water, with no problems!

  4. haashaastaak says:

    this is one of the best strips. I’m not sure whether it’s because the normally clueless characters actually tricked the GM or because the argument is so silly. I won’t recap the arguments already made about that except to say I wondered what the citizens of the city would think when they saw their king trying to sell a bunch of stolen weapons that he got from their most important ally. The screen caps are good as usual.

  5. ZackTheSTGuy says:

    Our group actively avoids the use of horses in our campaigns for precisely this reason.

  6. jabbers says:

    “(Next week, he learns the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. The week after, he finds what he had learned the previous week is only for African swallows.)”


    Typical of the education system.
    learn somthing,
    learn it is mostly wrong,
    learn exeptions
    learn better ways.
    learn it is mostly wrong, so on.

  7. jabbers says:

    “Next week, he learns the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. The week after, he finds what he had learned the previous week is only for African swallows.”


    Typical of the education system.
    learn somthing,
    learn it is mostly wrong,
    learn exeptions
    learn better ways.
    learn it is mostly wrong, so on.

  8. Parzival says:

    In a dragon hunt I DMed, the party came up with a novel solution upon discovering the vanquished dragon had more treasure than the could possibly carry”” they proceeded to tie the dragon corpse to strategically placed stakes in the chamber, to make it appear as if the dragon were alive and rearing, ready to attack.

    Didn’t work. I mean, get real. The local humanoids that had allied with the dragon walked in, saw his battered remains hanging from inch thick ropes, and promptly looted the place via the secret tunnels in the back.

    Yeah, I was a mean DM. *evil grin*

  9. Parzival says:

    Phooey. What’s the code for emoticons on this site?

  10. Scarlet Knight says:

    Colin Says: FYI “pimp” is the new “awesome”

    Oooooh! Now it makes sense! I sure feel silly about my previous Harpo Marx reference. By the way, what happened to the old “awesome”? We can still use it, right?

  11. Matthias says:

    :) for a smile
    ;) for a wink
    :P for sticking your tongue out
    ]:) for evil grin
    :( for sad

  12. Attorney At Chaos says:

    I often play characters that have taken a Vow Of Poverty, which does away with quite a number of such problems (horses, saddlebags, etc.) In 1E and 2E this was considered QUITE unusual. When 3E came out with the Ascetic characters in the Book Of Exalted Deeds it became a bit more popular, but still rare.

    And of course, 3E is where the Paladin’s Mount became dismissable and summonable. That made things easier for them, that’s for sure.

  13. JoystickHero says:

    We always tend to have at least one Large character (usually a Goliath, but occasionally a half-ogre) with 22+ strength, so encumbrance is rarely a problem.

  14. TheDrone says:

    Remember when he failed that fortitude save vs. the chick? He forgot his pants there.

  15. Rick says:

    Funny thing is, in the book the horses did brave the Paths of the Dead, journey to Pelargir, and travel by boat to Minas Tirith. And then presumably the Black Gate.

    So, they’re actually following the book! Sort of.

  16. Eric Towers says:

    Mostly, I wonder … Dave et al. will be busy trying to put a small object (a torpedo) down the difficult to approach opening of a very explode-y object that just happens to be next to the massed forces of the bad guys, who just happen to be about to attack/destoy the good guys. Do you think he’ll listen to Sam’s words of encouragement, be killed by the creepy looking antagonist (who is apparently half dead, having been nearly killed in an earlier movie/strip), turn off his targeting computer, or actually get the Ring down the hole? (… now *I*’m confused …)

  17. Yahzi says:

    Build a buick… A new classic! :D

  18. Awesome!
    Pure Awesome!

    Luckily, nothing like this has come up in my games, yet :D

  19. brassbaboon says:

    This whole thread is making me think about may own characters, some of whom are pretty high level. I have five characters ranging from level 12 to 14. None of them own a bag of holding. Two of them have large “homes” (more like “Keeps”). Two of them have mounts. One mount (for my 13th level Ranger) is a hippogriff. The other is a war horse. The other three just fly. One of them essentially has taken a vow of poverty and really only carries what his deity tells him he needs. The two with the “homes” have tons of stuff in their homes, but none of it is critical to their adventuring goals.

    Mostly it works out like this. My arcane characters have a few rings, an amulet, maybe some bracers of a magic robe, a decent staff and some wands, and odds and ends like spell components. As they have gotten higher level they have found fewer needs (who needs grappling hooks when you can fly?) so they really don’t carry that much. A bag of holding would be nice maybe, but in general they just don’t need that much stuff.

    My Illusionist is probably the best example. He has Ioun stones that free him from the need for water or food. He has the old Ring of Air Elemental Command, which allows him to fly (and do other cool stuff). He has a ring of wizardry which doubles his first and second level spells. A staff, a magic robe, some scrolls, maybe a potion or two… He hardly even needs a backpack anymore, unless he’s going on a long trip. Even if I had a bag of holding, I don’t know what I’d put in it. His role in battle is to confuse the enemy until he can bring some heavy artillery to bear. It’s not like he needs to carry a sherman tank with him. He IS the heavy artillery.

    Maybe he’s deprived and has never gotten his share of treasure compared with other campaigns. He’s certainly never needed to dump a mountain of gold coins into a bag of holding. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to even if he had the opportunity. He’s just not that greedy. He likes to travel light, and he may not have many magic items, but what he has are pretty cool. A bag of holding would just turn into a garage that he’d need to clean out from time to time…

  20. Gadush Kraun says:

    if backbacks are invisible leather tarti (plural of tartus?) what are saddlebags?

  21. Kidoryu says:

    I remember one of my worst experiences of a player out witting me. IT was at the very start of the campaign, I decided to let my players start at lvl 15, and the amount of money the DM’s guide suggests for characters starting at that level.
    One Of my players, a wizard, decided he would forgo starting with magic items of any kind, and just keep the money, subtracting a small amount for basic traveling gear and a few spellbooks.
    Impressed by his lack of greed,(and ignorant of all the item creation feats he had taken) I gave him a good chunk of exp as a bonus. Which he promtly used to create all the magic items he wanted, and a reduced cost. Since I don’t impose time restrictions until a player actually meets another player, (or npc that a player has significantly influenced), he had all the time in the world to gather raw materials and such.
    Of course, I could have simply inflated the price of said materials, but I figured, he went through all that trouble to outwit me, I’d just let him have his way… And never award a player xp for self-induced poverty again.

  22. My PCs never carry around any loot from monsters unless its magical.
    Its good to have non-goober players…

    most of the time.

  23. inq101 says:

    I have discovered the secret of getting players to look after their mounts.


    No realy, hats.

    One of my first D&D games I gave my characters horse a straw hat, but had to leave the game for a couple of months shortly after. When I returned I found that the rest of the party had been feeding and caring for the horse religiously (and actualy had been RPing it rather than ‘I buy a months worth of hay for the horse’)

    Since then all the games I’ve run where a horse, pony, mule or riding-lizard turned up wearing a hat (sometimes with a feather in it) has ended up with players aquiring the horse (etc, etc) and TREATING IT WELL (they even let a NPC starve so they could feed the riding-lizard).

  24. xbolt says:

    “Highly illogical.”

    Still funny, though. :D

  25. Fickle says:

    I think the best item I ever got in an RP was when the god of war, Ares, offered one item to each player and I opted for a backpack with no size limit on the inside that could keep anything in pristine condition and always give me exactly what I was looking for.

    All the other players just went all, “Uh… What do we ask a god for?”

    Ah, the joys of text-based RP and muns whose chars are relatively normal. XD

  26. Little Gen says:

    Weeeeell, I remember a campaign where two of the players had actually ridden and taken care of horses for several years, and besides we all had characters who by definition were very attached to their horses… The GM just had to swim with it, we spent _ages_ taking care of our beasts. We even skipped some skirmishes in order to save the horses!

  27. bibble says:

    This is why my GM always pays great detail to these things. It makes it easier for everyone else too, cos no-one has whopping great piles of stuff with them.

  28. Skeeve the Impossible says:

    *Homer Jay Simpson*

    “I have misplaced my pants”

  29. kat says:

    Players might be better about this if actual fantasy novelists were. Alas, they are infamous. From Diana Wynne Jones’s Tough Guide to Fantasyland:

    Horses are of a breed unique to Fantasyland. They are capable of galloping full-tilt all day without a rest. Sometimes they do not require food or water. They never cast shoes, go lame or put their hooves down holes, except when the Management deems it necessary, as when the forces of the DARK LORD are only half an hour behind…. Nor do they ever make life difficult for Tourists by biting or kicking their riders or one another…. Horses can be used just like bicycles, and usually are.”

    Later on she proposes that they breed by pollination. I love DWJ.

    The worst example of this I can think of came in one of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories (don’t ask why I was reading these. Also, never mention “mighty thews” to me again. Ever) in which a naked woman runs out of a tent, jumps onto a nearby horse, rides it at a gallop BAREBACK for several hours, falls off, and is apparently still in shape to be ravished. The visualizations alone made me walk with my legs crossed for days, but apparently Howard had never sat on a horsehair couch….

  30. Valley says:

    I thought they ate their horses?

  31. Maddyanne says:

    Diana Wynne Jones is so very good. Every fantasy writer should read the Tough Guide, not to mention all her other books.

  32. Thenodrin says:

    I remember breaking an adventure with Phantom Steed once.

    The event called for us to be placed on a ship, take a week to get where we were going, and stop the enemy from burning down a church.

    So, I cast Phantom Steed 6 times, and we out-paced the ship, got there in a day and a half, and lay in ambush for the people who were supposed to be in the process of razing the church as we got there.

    Of course, the dumb thing was that after the DM “fixed” the event by having the attack happen as we got there regardless of what day it was, then the NPC who sent us to protect the temple Teleported to us, and Teleported us to the next target.

    Which, of course, led us to wonder what the point was of failing to adequately protect the first target. Why couldn’t he have Teleported us in the first place?


  33. roxysteve says:

    Scarlet Knight Says:
    I once played a centaur (well, a polymorphed dwarf to be technical.) It was great fun until I was faced with a ladder…

    Fun indeed.

    I once played a sorcerer who specialised in shapechanging. His favourite shape? Centaur (The ref goofed early on, then agreed that it was more fun if I could do this so left it in). The others thought it was great to have a horse-on-demand.


    They began to notice that my the sorcerer’s favourite down-time occupation was persuading good-looking NPC women with shiny boots to come out for a canter. It wasn’t long before none of the female PCs would ride ol’ Mr Centaur on account of his constant oily instructions to hold on tight with their shiny, shiny boots. No, tighter. (You have to put the right amount of letchery into the voice when you do this sort of thing).

    I hasten to add I had no back story or goal when I did this other than to freak out certain players who were taking me for granted and driving me crazy with constant PHB rules-lawyering.

    In the end they stopped asking the sorcerer to be a cart horse/motorbike and started treating me with a bit more respect as a player.

    The same thing happened when they found out I could cast Stoneskin. The components for that spell are costly, but I was never offered so much as an extra copper piece for what they expected as a right. So I invented my own little chant for the vocal component, and elaborated on how the material component was applied (and not one of these rule lawyers thought to check in the PHB!). I told them I had to rub special ointment on their (bare) skin and sing “The Ointment Song”, a little calypso that went: “Let me rub your body, your lovely, lovely body“. I think the strongest willed of our (lady) fighters held out for four applications then declared that she thought she could do without the spell’s protection for the rest of the campaign.

    Much fun.


  34. Jochi says:


    I know I’m fighting a losing battle here, as with “bad” meaning “cool”, but I’m going to try anyway.

    Check dictionary.reference.com. Eight dictionary listings. The first meaning of that word in every case but the last two is ‘panderer’. The only other one of note applies in Australia and New Zealand where it means “stoolpigeon”. The last two have it as an acronym for “peeing in my pants”. Not a positive meaning anywhere. A pimp is an abuser of women and a trafficker in human misery, on a moral par with a rapist or a hard drug pusher. It does not mean “awesome” or “cool” or “stylin'” or anything else. It is an insult and to use it to describe a person or their craft is to invite them outside for a discussion with bare knuckles.

    But, I suppose, in most of the eyes on this list, I date myself again.

  35. Jindra34 says:

    Jochi: Its not that your are out of date its that colin is trying to live in that which has yet to occur.

  36. Angel says:

    The last time I played d&d (in high school, when 2nd ed. was new), our DM had an unusual solution to the problem of infinite saddlebags. We worked out the encumbrance of a mule, and then had to put equipment lists on little file-cards, one for each beast of burden.

    Mules and horses were either left outside (in which case there’s a 1/20 chance of it getting eaten by predators every day we leave it), or you have to take it into the dungeon.

    In the dungeon, mules move at 6 squares/turn (4 if overladen). If the owner is nearby and there’s no obvious escape route, you can move it where you want. Otherwise, they move directly away from the scariest thing they can see (so you have a couple of guys at the back of the flock waving around weapons, to make all the mules keep moving).

    At one point (around level 17 I think), we ran out of plastic mule/horse miniatures – a dungeon with 5 adventurers, 4 pet monsters, and 50 mules of loot carrying. Madness.

    Now I run rather than play games, I’ve found a method that doesn’t involve so many numbers for working out encumbrance. I’ve printed up a ton of equipment cards for common items (and a few rare ones). Large/heavy items are printed on thick card, random treasures on cheap cardstock, and potions/rings/scrolls on paper. Each player has an envelope. The rule is, if you can get it in the envelope, you can carry it. Backpacks and mules get different sized envelopes, and some larger items have larger cards (or vice-versa)

  37. DiscountNinja says:

    Now matter how many times I read it, the first comment is stil hilarious …

    “I find your lack of pants distrubing…”

  38. GoldenHatAlfonso says:

    Dictionaries!? We don’t need no… STINKING DICTIONARIES!

  39. the granddaddy says:

    33 Browncoat Says:

    August 13th, 2007 at 1:27 pm
    Of course Aragorn is using logic now. Ever since he found out he was king, he's been going to night school to learn how to be a king. (Next week, he learns the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. The week after, he finds what he had learned the previous week is only for African swallows.)

    Dude… what about the ” no quoting monty pithon ” rule? You made me imagine aragorn as the black knight, only stupider :P
    Great one as allways shamus…will you tellus soon of your next proyect? Do i need to use the Cow-a-pult to know it?

  40. Miles Tormani says:

    Okay, Jochi, as much as I hate to say this (due to partially agreeing with you), but you really need to silence yourself on the topic. When you respond to people who say such seemingly innocent (but still annoying, sorry Colin) phrases, you are the one who is in the wrong.

    Making such comments (especially in an online community such as this), as immature as it is, is a practice done mainly to elicit a reaction. Responding to such comments is often frowned upon, not only does it frequently waste more time and breath to make such responses than the original statement, but because the reaction is almost always exactly what the one who originally made the statement wanted, as Colin so eagerly pointed out here (“somebody has noticed me posting and started talking about it!”).

    The practice of making such comments to elicit reactions on online communities is known as ‘trolling’, and the ‘troll’ is almost never the one accused due to the innocent demeanor of the comment (unless the community is horribly elitist).

    On a separate page of this situation, as hypocritical as this may sound, I tire of people who are so offended by that which is different that they will go to great lengths to either insult said different person or talk behind their backs at any given opportunity. Go ahead, hate him, sure, but leave everyone else out of it.

    In short, and to use an overused acronym: YHBT. YHL. HAND.

    And now for something completely different. *shot by DM for MP reference*

    I think my favorite part about this strip is the fact that I’ve done such things to get out of a BS situation imposed by the DM. No matter how logical they’re talking, if they’re being irrational with the punishment or order, counter with illogical arguments in a logical pattern. You’ll anger them to the point where they just throw their hands up in defeat and say “WHATEVER!” You teach them a bit on why not to power trip, and get your way too. :3

    But wait, it gets better. If they try to salvage their side of it and throw another wrench at you (to “bite you in the rear later” so to speak), you can point out that they’re taking a personal vendetta out in the game, something that they themselves are the ones who usually say is absolutely not allowed.

    Of course, if it ever gets that far, be ready to find a new DM. You might lose whatever loose ties of friendship you have with this one. :P

  41. roxysteve says:

    [Miles] I couldn’t understand your acronym (although it isn’t really an acronym unless it spells another word: what you typed is properly called “initial slang”. OSIT). I guess, for me, YHBT. YHL. HAND. is the new “pimp!“.

    Seriously: If Colin can post single word posts that have no actual commentary value either to the comic or to the various threads underway in the comments section, then why are the “first post” posters banned by official fiet? There is no difference between them really (apart from everyone being able to understand the “first post” posts and not having to have them translated for them to make any kind of sense).



  42. Miles Tormani says:

    I find the ‘first post’ fiasco to be about the same as the ‘Pimp!’ thing. Sure, it’s annoying sometimes, but all the people getting upset about it and making much longer comments than ‘lawl frst pozt’ tends to be more annoying. :\

    Anyway, due to the length of my own post, that’s where the ‘I am a hypocrite’ part of my own statement comes in (especially since the whole thing was pretty much exactly what I was trying to say shouldn’t happen). I just think people need to calm down about both issues, really.

    I’m really sorry for whatever ‘angry’ air I gave off with my previous post, and I promise it’ll be the last one on the subject.

  43. Daza says:

    first time posting. i love these comics! this was one of my favs – i’ve had similar arguments with my DMs. :o)

    one solution I use is to play a rather ascetic monk, who moves faster (eventually) than a horse anyway. bag of holding for my gold and rations, and that’s about it. in 3ed boots and striding and springing were awesome, doubling move speed, until my DM got pissed that I essentially would run back and forth scouting terrain and outrunning any problems. he had a *stupid* ethereal filcher take the things. only those. no one else was bothered. the creature disappeared. goners. sigh. he was always pretty good at fixing unbalancing problems. 3.5ed boots were fixed too, sigh…

  44. Marty says:

    Yes, “pimp” is stupid slang, but as with language in any decade, words change meaning as slang evolves.

    In this case, the “Pimp My Ride” meaning of the word is what is intended… I.E.- make it awesome.

    I agree that it’s stupid, and I also hate the word “blog”, but it sure isn’t going away anytime soon. Best to just ignore it and hope that it fizizzles out.

    (See what I did there?) :)

  45. brassbaboon says:

    I remain amazed at how much conflict there seems to be between DMs and players. I’ve really never experienced that. All of my campaigns, both those I have run, and those that I have played in, have all been joint efforts to have fun and play the game as much by the rules as possible. What efforts there have been to confound either DM or player have been strictly done in fun and have been received that way. When I read about players slashing tires because a character died, or a character in tears because a mount has died, I have to shake my head and wonder whether some people should stick to playing cards.

    What I like about this strip is not so much that it captures the inherent animosity of DM vs. player (because I haven’t experienced it that much) as that it frequently captures the dynamics of the game play where players routinely metagame situations to the point of reducing their own capacity for enjoyment of the game. When that happens in one of my campaigns I always ask the player “are you playing the game now? Or gaming the play? It’s a lot more fun to play the game.” Usually that gets a chuckle and the player gets back into character enough to stop perusing the monster manual or the treasure tables in the DM’s guide.

    I wonder if there is a way to take some sort of poll of RPG-ers to find out how many have experienced such direct player-DM conflict. I hope I never run into it.

  46. Jeremy says:

    On the subject of horses: Once, my friends and I were doing a pirate themed campaign. We got a cart ride around a port town that was rather large, just so we could better explain our rapid travel everywhere (usually consisting of “soo…we’re there.”). In the twists and turns of events, due to events that aren’t our fault (debatable) the driver was killed while we hid in the back. The cart then became loot. At one point, we nearly the convinced the DM to let us bring it onboard our ship. Nearly giving in, he asked us why we wanted to. We responded “well, see, we want to build this ramp and use it as a launching point for boarding parties.” Soon after, we were all killed for speaking insolenlty to a ship’s captain armed with a lightning bolt ballistae.

  47. Jindra34 says:

    Jeremy: who had the ballistae?

  48. Robert says:

    I play a Halfling Druid, mounted on a Riding Dog with 2 Guard dogs (only 25gp each) as pack animals, and they’ll fight for me. I’ve taken Combat Reflexes so that my dog Trips them and I take all those extra attacks against the foe trying to stand, or the +4 to hit.

    And the dogs can follow me into dungeons so I don’t have to leave them behind, a simple rope harness can lower or raise them to areas.

    And you can ride them all day at full gallop, they eat the dead foes, they carry a hefty weight because they’re quadrupeds. They overcome the Halfling reduced speed. Such a sweet, sweet option.

    • WJS says:

      I smell rules abuse. All what attacks against an enemy getting up? You only get one AoO at once. And a full day’s gallop?!? You’re kidding, right? Forcing a mount to hustle for eight hours deals 127 points of damage. Riding dogs have 13 hp. You do the math.

  49. paw says:

    There was an interesting discussion on Usenet a long time ago about what people look for in a game; the results were written up into a document called the Threefold Model (link to a summary: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/threefold/faq_v1.html).

    This basically suggests that there are three main ways in which most people get enjoyment from a game. None is better than any of the others, they all have their place:

    Dramatist people concentrate primarily on storylines and/or on maintaining a mood or setting.

    Gamist people concentrate primarily on providing challenges for the player (as opposed to the characters they play).

    Simulationist people concentrate primarily on making a consistent game world in which things happen by cause and effect rather then dramatic license.

    These were not meant to be exclusive (there are many other models out there) and people don’t belong to only one category (most players and games emphasise all three categories at different times). This works
    best when used as a discussion-starter to find out what a group expects from a game, rather than as a way of pigeon-holeing games into categories.

    A couple of examples of how these can cause conflict:
    A dramatist may want to change their character’s back-story or change a character’s stats to make him a better fit in the campaign; a GM may want to add a secret plot twist to the character’s back-story that the player only finds out about in-game. Other gamists/simulationists may consider this “cheating”.

    If you come across a locked door that can’t be forced open, burned down, dug under, routed around, blown up or avoided, but can only be opened by solving a riddle, you have a gamist GM. This can infuriate non-Gamist players. In the same vein, saying “I’m hopeless at riddles, but my character has Wordplay: 6, so I’ll roll to see if I can open it.” will irritate a gamist GM who may have spent the bulk of their prep-time devising the riddle.

    I think most of the arguments I’ve seen have been due to someone who has grown up in one basic category and thinks that it is the only way to play, suddenly coming into contact with another person who has grown up with other expectations, so now when I see these types of argument brewing I tend to email this to the people involved. For a
    few minutes amusement, try going back over this excellent web comic and seeing which “mode” the GM and players are in at each time –just like real gaming sessions, they are not always consistent.

    Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

  50. Dean Steinlage says:

    I remember a character who gave a small part of his treasure to a charity and toppled a countries economy.

  51. Jindra34 says:

    Dean: Some one figured out that for the treasure tables in the DMs guide to be accurate some rediculuos percent of the money would have to be out in the hands of monsters… and i think the person figured out that 1% of a 15th level parties treasure would wreck a nation’s economy.

  52. Zippy Wonderdog says:

    Hmm brings to m ind a player that was in a campaign with me, he looked at the list of weapons and equipment and basicly said “I’ll have one of each”.
    Oh did I mention he was a halfling with above average strength?

  53. Mitey Heroes says:

    “Players tend to treat horses like motorcycles: They are vehicles which can go anywhere you can walk, will never wander off, have no fear, feel no pain, and can travel at top speed for as long as you like.”

    That’s mistreatment for a motorbike, let alone a horse!

  54. Scarlet Knight says:

    Paw, that was interesting. I have had discussions like that in the past, but it was never in print (I called the categories: actors, soldiers, historians).
    What players prefer often bleeds into “what is best”. Conflict comes not because multiple styles may play in one game, but the individual tolerances of each player vary. Hence Dave’s famous line : “Who let the role-player into the group!” (Get’s my vote for DMOTR’s top ten!)

  55. roxysteve says:

    Marty Says:
    Yes, “pimp” is stupid slang, but as with language in any decade, words change meaning as slang evolves.

    In this case, the “Pimp My Ride” meaning of the word is what is intended… I.E.- make it awesome.

    But…Colin’s post dosen’t make sense even more in that case. Even with slang, English-speakers require a subject/transitive verb/object structure.

    By this etymology, and interpolating “understood speech” to fill in the missing bits, Colin is actually saying ” [Shamus, you must] make awsome (some unspecified thing but presumably the webcomic which is somehow falling short in my estimation)!.

    Slang is like jazz: it has to be structured. You can’t just say/play anything, or you end up making “gibberish”. It all comes down to that whole “meaning/saying” thing Alice had out with the Mad Hatter and Co.


    (Smiling big when I wrote this).

  56. roxysteve says:

    [everybody] Anyway, King Aragormless has called for an all-hands-to-the-pumps, all-out, no-holds-barred, full-monty attack against Castle Mordor.

    “Let’s Ride!”

    Last one to the Black Gates of Mordor doesn’t end up hollowed out and used for a goblin’s jack-o-lantern.


  57. Scarlet Knight says:

    “Last one to the Black Gates of Mordor doesn't end up hollowed out and used for a goblin's jack-o-lantern.”

    Somehow, I figure that’s more likely to be the fate of the FIRST one to the Black Gate…

  58. Marty says:


    Trying to get word-nerdy all up in the hizouse? :)

    “Pimp” is like one of those slang words that can be used in multiple forms (noun, verb, adjective).

    So if you say “Pimp my _____ “, you’re saying “make it cool”, but if you just say “Pimp!”, you just saying “Cool!”… or “That’s so pimp” == “That’s so cool”…(or awesome or whatever). In one case it’s a command verb, and in another an adjective (or adverb possibly).

    In a way, that makes it similar to our more vulgar slang like s**t and f**k in that you can also use them as a verb, adjective, adverb, etc.

    On an unrelated note, I stumbled across this link and it struck me as an oddly funny twist on the English language:


  59. Kortir says:

    One time we managed (through a rather broken-to-horrible-extents character in particular) to slay a patrol of 80 NPCs wearing full plate mail and riding warhorses. Following this most broken battle was the argument in which I talked the party and the DM into letting us lash the horses together (hey, between 80 people they have to have enough rope) and loot the corpses, stashing everything in the saddlebags, so we could bring the entire stash back to town to sell. Between that and our negotiating character just happening to roll a natural 20 on his charisma roll, we sold the entire lot (minus a few choice pieces we liked) for something like 100,000 gold. We seriously contemplated retirement after that one, but the DM wouldn’t go for it. Nor the castle I tried to buy.

  60. Patrick says:

    Re: Pimp!

    Language is fluid. It changes and modifies through its usage. A word that once meant one thing a thousand years ago can mean something different today. Thanks to the internet, language is changing even more rapidly now. To say that a word has one finite definition and this can never be altered is to not only be obtuse, but is also a denial of reality.

    Since 2004, MTV has been airing a show entitled Pimp My Ride! which could actually be why the word “pimp” is becoming more associated with ostentatiousness or awesomeness than with philandering or managing prostitutes.

    For another example of semantic change in language, check out this link:
    The English word “nice” is often cited as an example of extreme semantic shift, having been borrowed from the Old French word “nice”, meaning “silly” or “foolish”, which was in turn from the Latin “nescius”, meaning “ignorant”. The word changed from “silly, foolish” to “timid” to “fussy, fastidious” to “dainty, delicate” to “precise, careful” to “agreeable, delightful” and finally to “kind, thoughtful”.

    But I’m also inclined to support Colin, because he is pimp!

  61. EezaK says:

    one of the funniest ones yet!

  62. Arcticwolf says:

    Only just got introduced to this comic by a friend, and for the last couple of hours have done nothing but read page after hilarious page. Seeing as it is now 3am where I am, I feel I will not be sleeping tonight.

    Now, on the point of characters always find ways of storing possessions: One campaign I ran we invited a few friends who had never played D&D but were interested. One of the poor saps was a bit slow of thought, and proceeded to tell us all he had a “Folding Broadsword” that he could just fold up and put in his pocket. Then when his lvl 10 warrior fell of a cart and sustained 2 whole damage, he started saying “I need healing” which kept the rest of us in hysterics for many sessions to come. Sadly he did not return for subsequent gaming nights.

  63. yo go re says:

    Our DM took pity on a bunch on lowly newbies (ie, pretty much everyone in this particular game) by doling out the magical weapons early and often in our first few adventures. In most cases, it was obvious what was intended to go to whom – if you have a magical device that is activated by speaking Celestial and only one PC speaks it, he gets the item.

    Anyway, that’s a fine system, except for the last thing he gave us, which no one wants. We talked about selling it, and (IC) a character told us a horror story about what would happen if it fell into the wrong hands while (OOC) he “casually” mentioned how this was the first magical device he created, and was so excited to finally give it to us, and how it was supposed to fill a specific need on our team. Translation? We’re now stuck with the magical sword that nobody wants.

    I’ve got it stored in my saddlebag, so the commentary under this strip made me smile.

  64. Panther says:

    I loved the reference to Riverdale (instead of Rivendale; next he’ll be calling Arwen and Galadriel Betty and Veronica). Best laugh in the whole strip!

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